I got my license!

Should’ve posted this earlier but didn’t think of it 'til now. For the past two Saturdays, Angie and I got up early (before 6:30am) and headed out for the local DMV office for my road test. The first time was the morning of 20 April and arrived at the DMV at just before 7; they’re open 8:30 to 12:30 on Saturdays. As usual, we forgot a couple things. With DMVs cracking down on licenses, I had to provide two IDs so I had to go back home for a paystub. I also found out that they only do a certain number (25, IIRC) of road tests on Saturdays so we had to hurry home and back (about 10 min. each way) with the paystub. No problem. Because we had already been inside, we were able to bypass the line to get in. Good deal and a good thing too because as I was filling out the form I heard an annoucement over the PA that no more road tests were being done. OK, filled out the form and waited for my number. Number called, form processed, handed back and told to place form in basket, form placed in basket, wait for my name to be called. My name is called, turns out the clerk had forgotten to ask for the vehicle registration so Angie runs out to the car for the registration card. Now, with registration in hand, I wait for one of the testers to notice me so I can had them the card. Wait, wait, wait. Finally, one asks what I want and I’m able to hand over the card. Wait for my name to be called again. Name called, form signed, head out for car. Tester checks the lights: brake, left signal, right signal, emergency blinkers, headlights, left signal, right signal. Tester also checks the wipers, I guess because rain was expected that day. Tester gets in the car, has me make a circuit of the lot once then has me head for the exit. OK, out to the main road and turn right, then another right, and back to the DMV via the alley behind the gas station. The tester docked me for not coming a complete stop at the red light before turning right. WTF? I had to head back just because I didn’t come to a complete stop? Yeesh!

DMV, a week later. This time we get there at 7:30 and I’ve brought the resistration and a paystub with me. What? I can’t use the paystub, I need a second picture ID? Damn good thing I had the ID card made the last time I was there. Fill out the form and wait for my number. Number called, take form to clerk, this time the clerk asks for the registration. I hand it over to him and it turns out to be the wrong one. Angie runs out to the car for the current registration. Everthing’s fine now, form processed, handed back, told to place in the basket. Form placed in basket and wait for my name. Wait, wait, wait, while thinking, “Please don’t let it be the same jerk as last week!” Name called, I have a woman this time, and we head for the car. Same checks as last week sans the wipers. Tester gets in and we head straight for the exit, no tour of the lot this time. I have no idea where we went other than we made a complete circle through some main roads and some back roads. Instead of returing to the DMV, I’m told to park at the park next door. Yay, I passed!

This isn’t the first time I had a driver’s license, I had one in Louisiana when I was 16. No, the state didn’t revoke it, Dad did. But that’s another story and not as interesting. There’s also a reason I wanted my license now, somebody had to drive Angie to the bus stop so she could go up to Massachusetts for her brother’s wedding.


I never had to take a road test. When I moved to California from Texas, my Texas learner’s permit looked like a regular license, but with the learner’s permit endorsement. Since the California DMV guy didn’t know that, he assumed I was transferring a regular license, and issued my California state license with no learner’s permit restrictions. Yay!

Robin, who is damn grateful she’s never gotten a ticket.

Gosh, he failed you just because you went through a red light on your driving test!??! What a jerk!!! Boy, they sure do have unreasonable standards in your state!

While we’re on this topic, I have a rant about driver testing. I’m from NJ, where the age for a full license was recently raised to 18, and the driver’s test consists of going around in a circle in an empty parking lot.

Whenever the accident rate starts to get too high, our state responds by raising the driving age, but keeping the same stupid tests that a trained monkey could pass. This is ridiculous. I believe that a 15-year-old is just as capable of driving a car properly as an 18-year-old. The problem is that nobody is capable of driving properly if you don’t train them to do so, and this joke of a road test certainly doesn’t compel people to practice hard.

By the way, if the road test sounds stupid, you should see the written test! When I took it, I had a hard time restraining myself from laughing aloud at some of the questions.

I got my learner’s permit at 16 (7/99) and my license at 17 (7/00). So I’ve been driving on a full license for almost two years. In all that time, I have never been in an accident (well, I knocked down my own lamp post in my own driveway once, but besides that…) and I have never received a ticket for any reason. This is not because I’m some kind of natural driving expert. I just practiced and paid attention and learned how to drive well back when I was 16.

So I say that all states should issue learner’s permits at 15 and licenses at 16. However, the written test for the permit would be significantly more difficult, you would have to wait six months between attempts if you failed, and the test would change every six months so you don’t get to simply memorize the questions.

The road test for a full license would be much longer and would involve actual roads, intersections, parking, etc., not a fake course in a vacant lot. Again, there would be a long waiting period between attempts if you failed.

I think the real reason they don’t do this is that it’s cheaper to raise the driving age than to fix the tests, but I bet the accident rate would actually decrease if they lowered the age and made the tests much more serious.

-Andrew L

I guess so. Everyone I’ve talked to around here thought it strange that I wasn’t allowed to complete the test just because I didn’t come to a complete stop before turning.

But for the driving test, you do EVERYTHING the way you’re supposed to: stop full 3 seconds at stop signs (or red lights if you’re turning right).

njufoic, and others, I suppose, are driving tests THAT easy in the US? In Quebec, there is a 20minute road test, which covers in-town (lights and stopsigns) in busy and quiet areas, as well as a brief jaunt onto the highway, and a full 3-point reverse parking. To get your license (under the current laws) you have to have you learners permit for 8 months if you take lessons from a certified school, and 12 if you don’t. I’ve been told (anectodally) that the tests are harder if you haven’t learned from a school. I remember watching TV shows where driving lessons involved GROUPS of kids in a car - is that really how its done (mind you, I’m imagining The Wonder Years here, so I’m guessing things are different).

Oh No! I now have to warn my father who lives near Arlington, that Jeff is now on the road. :smiley:


Be careful.
Have fun.

It depends on what state you’re in, or even what DMV you’re testing at. Here in California, if you’re under 18, you need to take a class, pass test much more difficult than the above-described New Jersey test, whereupon you must take behind-the-wheel instruction with a certified teacher for a certain number of hours (I dunno how many, cause I got my license when I was 22 and these rules didn’t apply to me). The test doesn’t involve highway driving, but yes, you do have to drive around on regular streets for about 15-20 minutes. Even after you earn the license, teenagers under 18 aren’t allowed to drive with anyone else under the age of 18 unless they have someone 25 or older with them. (Does that make sense? Basically, a 16 year old can drive their friends around, but only if they have an adult in the car as well. Or they can drive alone. But no joyriding with just kids in the car.)

I failed my first behind the wheel exam for not looking over my shoulder when easing into the bike lane to make a right turn. That was an automatic failure; other than that, I had the points to pass. So I have a hard time feeling sorry for anyone who complains they were treated poorly after failing to stop at a red light.


I guess the sidewalks are no longer safe in Virginia, huh? :wink:

My Perfect Child[sup]TM[/sup] got her permit at 15 and her license at 16. We gave her LOTS of driving time from September (when she turned 15) till June (when she took driver’s ed at school). The county here generally waives the driving test if the student successfully completes an approved driver’s ed course, so all she did was turn in her paperwork and a check, and she was licensed. It’s a relief to me not to have to shuttle her thither and yon.

My first license was issued in Louisiana even though I messed up bigtime because I misheard the tester. She said to turn right, which would have led us back to the DMV but what I heard was “turn left.” As I prepared to turn left the tester made it clear what she really said, then said to “go straight” instead. Which I did. Except in this case “straight” was really “left” and we ended up going the wrong way on a one-way street. So we took the first right and I started getting really nervous and took a set of S-curves too fast. I think that tester passed me just to get rid of me. :slight_smile:

When I took the second test this time I caught myself speeding twice but the tester didn’t say anything. No highways involved and the only reversing I had to do was out of the parking spot. The US probably stopped requiring drivers know how to parallel park in the early 80’s. I didn’t need to park in Louisiana in '84 nor in VA now.

BTW: I’ve been on the road on and off for the past two years, the only difference is now I can go out by myself. :slight_smile:

Revedge, I’ll try to warn you next time I plan to pass through Houston. I use one of the airports there when visiting relatives in Beaumont.

Depends where you are. Those things are treated locally. Back when I got mine in NY, if you passed school driver’s ed you could get a license at 17, otherwise it was 18. And in NYC the driver’s ed takes you some nice places - like a 12 lane street nicknamed “The Human Bowling Alley” because a stretch of about 5 miles averaged one pedestrian death a month for about 7 years…

You can drive in Brooklyn or Queens, other places look easy. DC and Boston are a snap.